Choas. Choas in the highest order! LoL
30 minutes before bedtime is a whole scene, usually because it’s the last rally for the battle cry to stay up and do whatever is being done. It’s often when Papa wants to start a tickle / wrestling match or when children remember that they aren’t full from dinner any longer. 30 minutes before bedtime is the 30 minute window of desert like thirst and affirmation and validation of activities, crafts, performance, and security.
Thankfully my children were never actually afraid of the dark but they absolutely played all of the other cards in their decks. The desire to hold on to every second with loved ones, before the subconscious takes over is a natural response. Healthy even.
I needed a solid, firm, strict nap and nighttime schedule for my children because I suffered with postpartum anxiety. My days were filled with stress if I wasn’t able to maintain my thoughts and organize my days by recharging.
At around 6:00 a.m. the kids would wake for the day, so I got up no later than 5:30. That might sound insane to an exhausted new mommy but for me, it helped me to keep a sense of autonomy. I made breakfast, we prayed, praised, and worshiped. We made sure to make room to welcome the Holy Spirit. When they were toddlers we played games after that, but when they were older we studied science, math, and sight words.
By 11:00 a.m. I had to prepare them for a nap, they needed it and I needed to recharge. When they were small they really slept, almost 2 hours after being read a story to nap; as they got older I just told them to rest without a device or television for at least one hour. They would usually fall asleep but it wasn’t mandatory.
The same went for the night routine, brushing teeth, bathing, sip of water, sip of water, sip of water, prayer and then story to sleep. It doesn’t sound like a lot but mental exhaustion is real, postpartum anxiety is painful and speaking openly about these things in community can free others.
Children in healthy environments linger because the reassurance that comes from loving homes is needed to form healthy memories and thoughts. It’s normal for them to desire extra time with you and to not want to be left out of whatever is happening after they fall asleep. But it’s also healthy for parents to recharge and be whole people so that they can present the best of themselves to their children when they wake.
I had to learn how to juggle my many emotions after motherhood, and am still learning now 15 years later with kids spanning from 8 to 15! It’s a journey that no one has figured out, but I want to give space to the mothers who need time to recover, the mothers who use naps and bedtime to power up for the impending hours to come.
Powerful woman (or powerful man 😉), take care of your spiritual and mental expedition, we get one shot at parents. These precious Littles look to us, and depend on us. So schedule the breaks that you need; and afterward, greet your children with extreme excitement every time they wake, or have a reemergence from rest time.